By Paige Nash
Travis Morehart, CPA with Cook and Morehart of Shreveport was in attendance Monday evening at Sibley’s Town Hall meeting. Morehart presented the 2021-2022 audit report where he announced the town had zero findings. A zero-finding report speaks volumes on how well the town has held each dollar accountable in recent years.
“You see that there are no findings in here and I don’t think you had any findings last year or the year before either,” said Morehart. “For a town this size and trust me we have 10-15 towns that we do, you have a good staff and workers and that matters.”
The general fund for the Town of Sibley has increased by $48,000.
“Increasing your general fund, that is big. Keep it up.” said Morehart.
Mayor Jimmy Williams mentioned the sales tax in the town has also increased.
“Our sales tax this year has gone up tremendously,” said Williams. “I think we are in better shape than most.”
Morehart made note that the town just about broke even on cash flow and operating expenses right at $7,283 on the water and sewer section of the audit.
Williams said the state has changed protocol on administering a yearly rate study.
“Every year now, it used to be only when you received a grant, the town must pay for rate study to be done by an engineer,” said Williams.
After conducting the rate study, the state will announce a minimum rate that the town must charge for water and sewer. They calculate the rate by many aspects, including how many users are on the system and the production.
Williams is hoping that by consolidating with Saltworks Water System and accumulating more overall customers, it will lessen the minimum rate required by the state.
In 2020, the town had a rate study completed and said they should be charging a minimum rate of $25.
“We are trying to go up gradually on people’s water, but if the state comes in and says we have to charge $50, then that is what it has to be and the town council has no say over it,” said Williams.
The Town of Sibley is also in the process of installing radio remote water meters. By doing so this will cut down on the time it takes town employees to read the meters. Instead of having an employee get out and read each meter manually, they will have a truck that drives by and reads the meter remotely. This new addition will also help ensure the safety of those employees who must get out among the traffic to read the meters once a month.
As of now, the town has installed radio remote readers on about 200 of the approximately 600 total meters. The town recently received word they will be receiving a water sector grant and will complete installation of the new meters throughout the Town of Sibley and on the Saltworks Water System once the funds are awarded.